I set out to find my “true north”
Wanderlust 108 is a sponsored event by Adidas, Ford, and others that bills itself as “the world’s only mindful triathlon.” And sure, it may be that. But my experience at Wanderlust 108 in Scottsdale left much to be desired.
I arrived at 7:30am as prompted on the tickets and website. I wasn’t the only one there, but it was a small crowd. I will say, the event volunteers were friendly and urged me to find a closer spot to practice than what I had originally chosen. I set out my yoga mat about five or six rows back from the stage.
The 5K began at 9:00am and was led by a woman who’s ran over 100 marathons and found her passion for running when she was a teenager. But her story of motivation seemed half-hearted and forced. I’m sure it’s not her fault. The race course was nothing special. We ran the paved roads and parking lots, out-and-back, at Salt River Fields, near the highway and nearby construction areas. May I suggest moving the event to Tempe? Town Lake would be a great space for this event.
Yoga practice began at 10:45am and was led by Chelsey Korus, who I absolutely adore. So, this I did enjoy. But, there was this weird group huddle that happened at the beginning which was called for by the MC. She called everyone to the front of the stage and conducted a “dance party.” I couldn’t spot one person that was truly into it. You can’t force these things. People should come together on their own. People should feel the bliss and the feeling of an inspired community for themselves. They shouldn’t have to be told to feel it. It was weird. And, it left all of the yoga mats and people’s belongings covered in sandy gravel, dust and grass.
After yoga came meditation. This was fine. There was a baby crying. Yes, someone brought a baby. There were a lot of kids, actually. I was sitting next to a mom and her daughter who was elementary age. I loved seeing that. But, babies? Really? It’s safe to say I couldn’t quiet my mind during this time.
There was a good amount of merch to pickup — but not a lot under $50. I didn’t buy anything. I did like a bracelet that said something inspirational, I forget now. But I could buy it at Nordstrom for $20 less.
There was a kombucha garden, but no kombucha. Hm. And for those who signed up for the picnic lunch, $21, the line was so long. I packed a peanut butter and jelly and banana instead.
After the triathlon events Wanderlust 108 freestyled it with acro yoga, hooping, walking meditation, flow and other 30 minute actives. I killed sometime and then did the restorative flow before I left. The instructor was cool, and he teaches locally, but I was breathing in the fumes of the nearby packing trucks because of the position of the practice. Boo.
There was a moment that left me scratching my head. On the website, and marketing materials Wanderlust 108 promotes “disconnecting” and “unplugging.” Great, right? I love this idea, we need to do more of it. We spend too much time looking at screens. So, to my disappointment, there was a mural put in place for the sole purpose of taking selfies. The chick on the mic even called for people to take selfies and post. Ugh. I could groan on about this, but I won’t…
So here’s my problem with sponsored events; sponsored anything. It’s inauthentic. You can tell there’s a bunch of men (or women) in suits in some boardroom who’ve never experienced whatever it is that they are sponsoring, making all of the calls. It shows in nearly everything that’s sponsored. And this was this case with Wanderlust 108. It’s a turnoff for me, and I think it’s safe to say, a big number of other humans my age — you can see through it!
I would compare Wanderlust 108 to Coachella (read this post from babe). Not because it’s the same type of event, because it’s not. Because it attracts the same type of people. Wanderlust 108, in my opinion, brought out those who wanted to take a selfie and post about being there. Here’s a great example… Before I moved my yoga mat for the 75 minute practice I was seated in front of a group of recent ASU grads, and these girls were talking about how they weren’t going to run the 5K — not even walk it. And, during the yoga practice, these girls were clearly napping, or wait, maybe they were in savasana, sunbathing. I can almost guarantee you that they posted to Instagram about being at the event, how enlightened they are, how great of a time they had, just how spiritual they are, #blessed, etc…
I’m sure that there were people at the event who truly had a great time and had a great experience. Good for them.
So, Wanderlust 108 was okay. Just okay. Sure, it felt great to run. And yes, my body thanked me for the over-an-hour yoga practice. But, I did not find my true north. Maybe next year, Wanderlust 108.